A Chance for Peace in Afghanistan

Tomsen, Peter
January 2000
Foreign Affairs;Jan/Feb2000, Vol. 79 Issue 1, p179
The article focuses on the socio-political conditions in Afghanistan. Since the seizure of Kabul in 1996, the semiliterate Taliban mullahs have proven singularly incapable of governing the areas they control. Their rigid Islam, blending aspects of anti-Sufi and anti-Shia fundamentalism from India, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf states, is alien to the moderate Islam practiced by most Afghans. Taliban's failed offensive in the fall of 1999 exposed the movement's declining military punch. A mostly non-Pushtun coalition in northern Afghanistan turned back the Taliban's attacks and has since pushed the front lines toward Kabul, capturing Taliban-controlled areas in northern, eastern and western Afghanistan. Signs of the Taliban's disintegration abound. Afghans are growing suspicious of how heavily the ISI controls the Taliban; ISI officers and Pakistani religious-party firebrands have become ubiquitous in Taliban-controlled cities, including Kabul. Taliban adversaries are profiting from these suspicions. American policy today is inadequate to deliver on the U.S. interests in Afghanistan. The U.S. foreign-policy makers must craft a more forceful, creative, and effective approach to address the U.S.'s geostrategic concerns, the soaring Afghan opium trade, massive Taliban violations of human rights, and the return of the largest refugee population in the world.


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